I turn 30 today. Three decades. I don’t think I feel old really. I think this is the time in life where I have realized that I am a full-fledged adult, someone with responsibilities beyond themselves, who must plan and invest in the future, both monetarily and otherwise. I feel as though I’ve been around long enough to offer advice to others around me with some fortitude behind it. I’ve been here a while and here’s what I know to be true.
Take time. That’s it. Just take time to do things, completely and correctly. This may mean you have to learn to do something new, or relearn how to do something you used to know how to do. Take the time necessary to make sure your life is on the right track. Spend a little extra time with loved ones, turn off the TV and put down the laptop, hold someone a little longer. Cook a meal, buy meat, vegetables, fruits, etc. and get into the kitchen and put some love in the pan. You’ll feel better after you do. Doesn’t have to be fancy, or even taste that good the first few times, but cooking can not only be therapeutic but also helps you find healthy ways to eat different foods. The bottom line, extend yourself a little farther each time and it won’t be such a stretch the next time.
Take time to do nothing. Sometimes all that other stuff in the world can just wait. Get a book, find a comfortable chair and relax. Get outside, sit and look at nothing and just listen. The world will continue without you. Hear the wind, the birds, and whatever else is going on, try not to get in the middle of it, just observe.
Eat right. I’m not saying become a wheat grass hippie, you can but that’s not necessary. Now I’m not the epitome of health and wellness I know, in fact I’m out of shape and overweight but in the past few months of trying to eat right, I’ve never felt better in my life. If it comes in a wrapper and you try to eat it in your car, chances are it’s not that good for you. If it’s leafy, green, and you had a take a little time to prepare it, you’ll feel better after eating it. But not even just leafy and green, grill a steak, cook some corn on the cob and sit down with someone and have a great conversation over a good meal, no TV, no phone, just the sounds of a meal being shared.
Keep track of every penny. Don’t be a scrooge. Have a budget, know where every dollar you make goes, and why it goes there. Over the last 4 years, we’ve developed a budget that ebbs and flows with our lives but also keeps us in check with extravagance. We have fun. We do stuff. We rarely worry about having too much month at the end of the money. I would also say to plan to be extravagant too, make sure you have some fun with your money, do stuff. Don’t let your money rule you, do what you want when you want but that can only happen if you plan right in the first place. In my youth, that is to say 10 years ago or so, I spent way more than I made, much like the government. I’m still in debt because of it. I’m digging out but I had to learn the hard way. The ignorance of handling money in my youth has hindered my ability to enjoy the money I make now.
Work hard and do it right. Everything you do, either for yourself or for others, must be done right the first time. Working hard means caring about what you do. If you don’t care about the outcome, I’m convinced that it doesn’t matter how hard you try, it won’t come out as good as if you’d have wanted to do it in the first place.
Buy good furniture. The stuff that you’ll use every day, the couch, the dining room table, your computer chair, spend a little extra on those. IKEA bookcases, no problem if they work for you décor and such. The couch that you watch TV and snuggle on? Spend a little bit on those so your back doesn’t hurt each night when you get up and so it’ll last longer than a football season. Get a classic fabric/leather too. Microsuede isn’t going to be cool in 10 years probably, black leather will look perfectly worn by then. Red, trust me I know from experience, will not be cool in the end, it looks awesome the first week but you’ll spend the next 3 years hating it.
My final bit of advice is to realize that whether you are 30 or 70, you are only as old as you act and allow yourself to feel. If you think at 25 you are “old” you are probably going to feel old too, I know people who are 70+ who refuse to slow down and they enjoy everyday even a little more than the last.